Home Health When Was the Last Time You Thought About Your Kidneys?

When Was the Last Time You Thought About Your Kidneys?

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More than 37 million Americans have some form of kidney disease, and 90% don’t even know they have it. Make sure you understand kidney disease, risk factors, and how to care for yourself if you are at risk.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease? Imagine your kidneys as your body’s blood filtering system. Much like air and water filters, your kidneys trap waste and toxins. Over time, factors such as high blood sugar and elevated blood pressure can damage the kidneys, reducing their ability to remove waste products from the body.

CKD progresses slowly over time, with few or even no symptoms in the early stages. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they have CKD until they reach the CKD stage. Center for Disease Control Prevention states that an estimated 15% or more Americans will develop CKD during their lifetime. This means that about one in seven Americans will likely experience kidney disease at some point in her life.

What are the different stages of CKD? Chronic kidney disease has five stages, ranging from mild kidney damage to severe kidney disease. End-stage renal disease (ESKD) means that the kidneys are no longer able to filter blood and patients require dialysis or a kidney transplant. Many people do not experience symptoms of CKD until later stages of kidney disease. Therefore, early diagnosis and preventive care are essential. The sooner CKD is diagnosed, the more we can do to slow the progression of the disease and improve our health.

What are the risk factors for CKD? Because symptoms often do not appear until later in life, it is essential to see a doctor regularly to inquire about kidney health. Your doctor may recommend blood and urine tests to check for CKD. In the United States, the leading causes of CKD are diabetes and hypertension. Other causes include autoimmune disease, vascular disease, polycystic kidney disease, and other ailments.

moreover, National Kidney Foundation Higher risk of kidney disease if you’re Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander reported as possible.

4 factors that increase your risk of kidney disease

  1. Diabetes
  2. high blood pressure
  3. Heart disease
  4. family history of kidney disease

What should I discuss with my doctor? Ask your doctor if you should be screened for CKD. If you have risk factors, your doctor may recommend blood and/or urine screening to check for kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, your doctor may recommend a sodium-restricted, kidney-friendly diet, low protein, and other dietary recommendations, depending on your health. They may also recommend exercising for a few minutes and limiting alcohol consumption. Living a healthy lifestyle, taking the right medications, and managing your overall health are important factors in improving your kidney health. Be sure to check with your doctor every year to see if it’s appropriate for you.

How to prevent CKD? You can take the following measures to protect your kidneys:

  • Ask your doctor about risk factors for CKD
  • take all prescribed medications exactly
  • Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter pain relievers, vitamins, and supplements
  • keep blood pressure within target range
  • If you have diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions to manage your blood sugar
  • follow a kidney-friendly diet
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • no smoking
  • Ask your doctor about vaccinations for general health

Resources to explore if you or a loved one has CKD – There are many national resources available for finding more information about kidney disease and how to prevent it from getting worse.

  • National Kidney Foundation www.kidney.org.
  • Center for Disease Control www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease.
  • Access to community resources. Call 211 or visit www.211.org Address medical travel, caregiver support, financial assistance services, and healthcare-related needs.

About Michelle Hilton
Michelle Hilton is a Registered Nurse with a Master’s degree in Nursing Informatics from Western Governors University. She has over 13 years of clinical dialysis experience, including roles as chief nurse, preceptor, and dialysis educator. In addition, Michelle has several years of experience in the dialysis manufacturing industry as a national product educator in blood volume monitoring technology and her SME. Currently, Michelle works as a Program Development Analyst for Somatus, helping develop clinical programs aimed at positively impacting people living with chronic kidney disease. Michelle is responsible for translating clinical evidence and incorporating evidence-based research into Somatus’ clinical programs. Michelle is a member of the American Nursing Association, the American Nephrology Nurses Association, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

About Somatus

Somatus partners with renal and primary care groups, leading health plans and health systems to provide comprehensive care for patients with or at risk of developing kidney disease. As the market leader in value-based renal care, Somatus’ vertically integrated clinical services and technologies are used to slow or prevent disease progression, improve quality and coordination of care, reduce home dialysis therapy use and renal transplantation. We are increasing the rate. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, the company was founded by a team of world-class healthcare providers, successful entrepreneurs and leading clinicians treating kidney disease.

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